Addison Halligan made the varsity water polo team at Palm Desert High School as a freshman and both Halligan and the Aztecs have been making huge strides since then.
A former soccer player, Halligan switched to polo and swimming in high school and joined a competitive club-level team in her junior year. It’s all paid off for her senior year as Halligan has helped Palm Desert to an unbeaten Desert Valley League season and a No.2 ranking in CIF.
The Desert Sun talked to Halligan about her game, her year and her chances at getting to uncharted waters — that CIF title match.
Tell us your water polo background?
“I started in 8th grade and made varsity when I was in ninth grade. My friend Amanda Gerhardt (also a member of the Aztecs) told me to try it because she liked it and it was fun. It WAS fun. I just got sick of getting injured all the time in soccer and when I started (water polo), I loved it.”
Assess your game, how much has it improved, what areas have you improved in?
“I’m more of a defensive player. I like to stay back and make sure everyone else is covered. I’ve really worked on my shooting and that is much better. And, just my mental quickness, about what to do in a game is what I’ve really improved on.”
What’s been your biggest or best game this season … maybe a lot of goals or a game-winner?
“It was maybe against Palm Springs. I really had a more offensive game.” (She scored four goals in a 17-3 victory).
As a captain, what’s been your biggest contribution to the team?
“I just make sure everyone is ready and focused. Emily (Garczynski) and I are the same as captains. We show by our work ethic, show we’re all equal. We motivate by showing different things”
As a senior, you can only dream of the season you’ve had so far. What will be one of your best memories?
“We’re always together, but we had one team sleepover — at my house — and we all couldn’t stop laughing. it was crazy.”
How many times has it been mentioned that you are on the same path as the boys, getting to the Final Four, being ranked really high and having a chance to get to the CIF championship?
“That is very motivating for us to see what they did. It was the first time the boys won CIF. They got to the finals before but this year (fall, 2013) was the first time they’ve won. The girls have never been to the finals, so we’ve never won. We want to win because last year we made it to the semifinals and this year … hmm.”
Playing water polo in high school and club, and being on the swim team is a full schedule. Do you have room for anything else in your senior year?
“I’m in ASB for the first time. I’m senator of clubs. I also do CHAWP water polo club, I’m on the varsity swim team. I swim the 50-yard freestyle and I also volunteer with NCL (National Charity League).”